Labor News Briefs, Law and Politics, National, Retail

Silicon Valley Workers Rally for Basic Rights

September 9, 2017

By Steve Wishnia and Neal Tepel

San Jose, Calif.—More than 300 people turned out Sept. 4 for Labor Day rallies in San Jose and Sant Clara organized by Service Employees International Union Local 521. They first entered a McDonald’s restaurant in San Jose, banging drums and calling on bullhorns for a $15 minimum wage. Another stop was the Dell computer company, which last year dumped its janitorial-service contractor after workers there won a union contract with raises to $15 for most workers and better benefits and job security. The janitors either lost their jobs or had to take big pay cuts. In Santa Clara, they picketed the Community Child Care Council of Santa Clara County, a nonprofit organization that provides publicly funded day care, which hasn’t negotiated a contract with workers who unionized two years ago. The agency “is one of the worst employers we have ever run across,” Local 521 head Riko Mendez told the San Jose Mercury News. Silicon Valley’s exploding housing costs are particularly hard on low-income workers. “You can be homeless or penniless,” security contractor Albert Brown III said. “If your salary pays for a place to live, that is all it pays for. Or you can live in your car and get a 24 Hour Fitness membership.” Read more

September 9, 2017

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